Woman of the Century/Fanny Chambers Gooch
GOOCH, Mrs. Fanny Chambers, author, is a native of Texas, where the greater part of her life has been spent. Through her book. "Face to Face with the Mexicans" (New York, 1888), she has become known to fame. The story of the inception, growth, publication and success of this book gives a luminous insight into the character of its author, and is at the siime time an interesting illustration of the changed conditions of the modern American woman's life. Several years ago Mrs. Gooch removed with her family to the city of Saltillo, Mexico. She, who in her American home was famous as a housewife, went to Mexico almost entirely ignorant of the domestic manners of those most unyielding devotees of ancient custom, and set up her home among them, expecting to order her household affairs after the same comfortable fashion which made her home in Austin, Texas, a place of ease and plenty. The story of the dis-illusionment told in the opening chapters of her book is exquisitely ludicrous. To a woman less keenly alive to the humor of the situation it would have been less profitable as a lesson than it proved to the author. After a determined effort to force the immovable Mexican customs, she found herself compelled to yield to the inevitable. She FANNY CHAMBERS GOOCH. might be compelled to do without a cooking-stove and to forego the delights of attending to her own marketing and shopping, but her genial soul demanded that, if foiled in her domestic plans, she would at least refuse to be shut out from social intercourse with the people among whom she found herself. That was hardly less difficult than to keep house in the American fashion with the help of Mexican servants and furniture. Her neighbors looked with small favor on Americans in general, having learned much to prejudice them against their brethren across the Rio Grande, and little in their favor. But here was an anomaly in the shape of an American, a woman full of the independent spirit of her people, hut as full of sympathy and ready appreciation as the most courteous Latin. The result was that Mrs. Gooch obtained an insight into the innermost life and less superficial characteristics of our neighbors, which she afterward used in her book on Mexico so successfully as to give the work a peculiar value. Returning after some years to her former home in Austin, her descriptions of her Mexican experiences so entertained her friends that she was asked to prepare a series of articles on the subject for a Texas newspaper. Mrs. Gooch at once set to work. She soon found, however, an embarrassment of riches in the abundant material her memory supplied, and, abandoning her first intention, she decided to publish her work in book form. Her first intention had been to limit her book to her experiences in Saltillo, but the greatness of her overmastering idea soon proved that intention too narrow, and, putting aside her pen, she returned to Mexico, where she spent some time in its principal cities, mingling with its people in every station. She was fortunate in earn ing on her new venture to have letters to the leading men and women of the Mexican capitol. When the literary portion of her work was complete, she went to New York and superintended the publication of the work. The book at once attracted the notice of the leading reviewers and became very successful. The year following the publication of '"Face to Face with the Mexicans Mrs. Gooch was married to Dr. D. T. Inglehart, of Austin, and has since devoted herself almost entirely to her extensive domestic and social duties. At present she has in contemplation another literary venture, the subject of which is to be Texas.